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Friend a Day – Jane Anfinson

901332_10151306122436076_1274080585_oJane is my sister-in-law and I can’t imagine my brother finding a more compatible companion.

She had been seeing my brother for a little while before we met and I remember liking her the first time there was a family gathering in which she took part.  She’s just really easy to like.  From that first day, she’s always felt like a member of the family.  By that I mean that she feels comfortably compatible with the rest of us.  It feels like she’s always been around.

What has always struck me about Jane is the way she deals with stress with such serenity.  I’m sure that she experiences as much stress as the rest of us but she always manages to stay calm and rational in the face of challenging circumstances.  I think that she becomes a great source of support in those situations because she retains her composure.

She has a delightful sense of humor that can be very dry.  Her laugh is playful and always suggests a bit of impish delight.

Jane is a talented musician and an avid bird watcher.  She likes birds (and other animals) so much, that she went back to school to become a wildlife biologist.  What great is just seeing her re-focus her life on something that is a passion.

Jane and my brother spend many weekends together camping in state parks.  They bird watch and get away from the busy lives they lead during the week.  I honestly couldn’t tell you which of them loves the outdoors more.  Given Jane’s day job takes her outside more frequently, I’ll give her the tiebreaker.

She’s also a great “sit down and talk to over coffee” kind of person (even though I don’t drink coffee).  Conversations are relaxed and fun and don’t feel forced or uncomfortable.

I always look forward to time I get to spend with Jane because the time passes so enjoyably and so quickly.  I like my brother a lot and it makes me very happy that he gets to spend so much time with such a great person.

Jane is a member of the Community Women’s Orchestra in Oakland, CA.  She also has a website!


Shit that Pissed Me Off – 4/25

Christian Comedian Asks A “Hilarious” Question That “Proves” It Is Crazy To Be An Atheist

This is pretty old and I just happened to click-through because I wanted to know if the question really proved I’m crazy.

Basically, his hilarious question is “why are atheists offended by ‘under god’ in the pledge of allegiance if they don’t believe in god?”

HA!  You got me there, buddy!  Forcing my kids to acknowledge a god they don’t believe in is totally OK.  Having a problem with that is completely insane!!!

If they object to saying “Under God,” they are COMMUNISTS!

Let me ask you, though, how you would feel if we changed the word “God” to “Allah?”  Or Shiva?  Would that be OK with you?  Or would you be upset because you were expected to say that our country was under a god you didn’t believe in?

The issue has nothing to do with the existence of god and everything to do with the idea that nobody’s god should be held higher than any other god in the eyes of the state.

So anyway, I don’t think the question proved I’m crazy.  You can’t prove a negative, however, so it’s impossible to prove that I’m not crazy.

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Shit That Pissed Me Off – 4/11

There Is A Direct Relationship Between How Much Someone Knows About The Ukraine And The Likelihood They Believe We Should Get Involved

While I think the situation in the Ukraine is alarming, I also think that there is very little the US can (or should) do about it.  I don’t know if that is because I know where the Ukraine is on a map but it seems clear there might be some relation.

In a very interesting survey, the Washington Post found that the less you knew about the Ukraine, the more likely you were to think we should get involved.

The map in the article shows where respondents placed the Ukraine on a map.  It’s pretty troubling when you see that more than one person chose Australia.  Or Greenland.

Yes. Some of the dots are in the fucking ocean.


Now, there is a possibility some of these people were dickishly selecting the wrong location just to skew numbers.

Even allowing for that, people are forming opinions about something they know nothing about.  I’ll bet if they were educated about the situation, though, they wouldn’t change their minds.  People are dumb that way.


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On Natural and Unnatural Hair Loss

984035_10152368464124540_8836301962623702556_nI’m not a vain man.

By that I mean that I’m not obsessed with my looks.  I don’t think that there was ever a time in my life when I was considered “hot” and, at 46, I don’t think I’m likely to start turning heads now.

If I allow myself any vanity, it is in the fact that I have nice hair.  My hair is thick and soft and shows no signs of receding.  I’m going to have this hair long after any other attractive feature I possess has ceased to be an asset.

I remember a time when I was about twenty.  My brother had decided he wanted a mohawk.  I came home one night and my mom was sitting with him in the living room.  He was wearing a hat.

She was wearing an expression of quiet disapproval.

His expression was one of gleeful triumph.

The conversation went something like this:

“Hello, what’s going on?”  I said because it would have taken someone completely oblivious to miss the implication that something awkward was, in fact, going on.

“Your brother…” my mom began and then stopped.  My brother can grin in a way that is extremely unsettling.  It is the grin of someone who is prepared to do something entirely unpleasant (but non-harmful) at any moment.

That was the way he was grinning as my mom tried to answer my simple question.

“Oh…” she finally said, “just show him.”

David whipped the hat off his head to reveal a completely bald pate.  He’d even shaved the stubble.

“I shaved my head!” he cried.

“It feels awesome!  Here!”

This is when he charged across the room and began to rub his bald head against my bare skin so I could share in the experience of his baldness.  It felt pretty weird.

“Isn’t that weird?” he asked.

The whole situation was weird.

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Jumping off a Cliff – Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about the decision I made to leave my job. I got a lot of encouraging words and I appreciated all of them.

Today, I’m going to write about how and why I ended up keeping my day job and how it helps with my eventual goal to work for myself.

Before I explain what happened, let me offer a few pieces of advice anyone should keep in mind when they deicide it is time to leave their job.

1)  Never “rage quit”

I don’t care how much your job sucks.  Two weeks isn’t that long.  If you did your job well and your boss could be a good reference, give notice.  Even if your boss is a total asshole.

At some point, you might need another job.  If you tell a prospective employer that they can’t call your last boss, that will make it that much harder to get that job.

I had been thinking about quitting for a long time.  When I submitted my notice, I said I was willing to stick around for up to six weeks to help train my replacement.  It meant that I was going have to wait six weeks before I started working my “real” job. But it also meant that if I needed to go job hunting again, I could list this job on a resume with the knowledge they would say good things about me to a potential employer.

Two weeks goes by quickly.  Do yourself a favor and power through it.

I have burned very few bridges in my life and I’ve always come to regret making that choice.

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A Geeks Without God Double Date

Geeks Without GodWe finally managed to get my wife scheduled for an episode of Geeks Without God!  Pat joined us to talk about television, which is a subject that has been rather lightly covered on previous GWG podcasts.  Sometimes our 30 minute format means that we only scratch the surface of a particular topic and this episode is a fine example of that problem.  We briefly touched on a lot of different atheist characters and how they are depicted.  It is a broad topic worthy of a lot more discussion.

I imagine we’ll have to ask Pat back.

Alphabetical Movie – Little Shop of Horrors

When I was seventeen, my family took a trip to Europe for summer vacation.  We spent a week in France, a week in Germany, a few days in Amsterdam and a week in England.  Mostly London.

At the time, I was about to go to college as a theatre major and all I wanted to do in London was go see plays.  My parents wanted to go to all sorts of historical buildings and stuff and I resented it at the time.  One play a day hardly seemed fair.  Who gave a crap about the Tower of London?

The Tower of London, by the way, was pretty cool.  I regret it took me several years to realize that.

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Doing something nice for my kid

Last week, I wrote about how my son was being bullied and how proud I was of his response.

A lot of people told me how he sounds like a great kid and they also told him this weekend.  Before the weekend, I made a facebook post wherin I suggested that those who wished to should give him $5.00 to help replace a 3DS he lost last week.  Several people asked if there was a way to do it online.

So for those folks, here is a way to donate to his DS fund through paypal.  You can only donate $5.00.  I don’t want anyone to donate more than that.  If you can’t afford $5.00, that’s OK.

If we make more than what we need to buy him a DS, we will donate the remainder to Minnesotans United for All Families.

If you would rather make a $5.00 to Minnesotans United in his name, that would also be terrific.

Thanks for all the love and support he’s received.  He doesn’t entirely undersand it but I know he appreciates it.

Here’s the donation button for those who would like to use it:

I Feel Like I’ve done Something Right

Note: I’m not using any names here because I’m talking about kids and I don’t want there to be even the slightest chance that a child would suffer repercussions because of this blog post.  Bullying is wrong and it’s cruel but these are kids and they can learn and grow and become better people.

My newly minted teenager has been dealing with bullying issues for a long time.  Yesterday, his birthday, a boy who has been bullying him for over a year managed to get to him again.

That’s the trick, you know.  To get to him.  My son can brush off dozens of taunts but eventually, he will reach a breaking point.  Yesterday, he reached a breaking point.

I know that doesn’t sound like something positive and it isn’t.  I’m livid.

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It seems pretty clear that I never stop talking

Last week, I sat down with Levi Weinhagen and recorded an episode of Pratfalls of Parenting.  I’ve been doing a lot of podcasting lately but I’m usually the host.  It was fun being the subject.  I believe I said interesting and amusing things but I haven’t had a chance to listen to the finished podcast yet.  You can listen for yourself!